Riding Fourteen Rustic Roads in SE Wisconsin

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by blackfriar, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. blackfriar

    blackfriar Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    The calendar said that autumn had begun four days ago, but it was almost ninety degrees in southeast Wisconsin in late September. I had just ridden my sixth Rustic Road of the day and was looking forward to reaching my quarters for the night when the familiar brown and gold Rustic Road sign appeared. A quick check of my map and guidebook showed that I had stumbled upon one of the two designated Rustic Roads in Rock County. After a short and pleasant out and back ride on RR 35 I was off to the Super 8 in Whitewater, Wisconsin.

    [​IMG]
    On the north end of Rustic Road 35

    My ride had begun at 7:00 am when I pulled out of the driveway in Green Bay. The goal was to ride thirteen Rustic Roads spread over six counties in southeast Wisconsin over the next two days. It would be a couple of hours before I reached the first road in Columbia County, so I settled in to enjoy the ride.

    I got up to speed among the morning commuters on Interstate 41 south. The big BMW allowed me to travel comfortably with the traffic and I got off the slab at WIS 26 just south of Oshkosh. At Waupun, I went west on WIS 68. It leads through the little town of Fox Lake. I noticed that an old friend from my days in the Wisconsin National Guard had a real estate office there, so I stopped in for a visit. It was great to catch up with him, but soon it was time to get back on the road.

    WIS 33 traverses the state in an east-west direction and it led me to Columbia County and my first three Rustic Roads of the day. The first one, Rustic Road 69, travels along the Portage Canal and leads up to the Indian Agency House. Built in 1832, it is open for tours on certain days of the week. Back on 33, I crossed the mighty Wisconsin River and turned onto RR 49. This road parallels the big river and travels through the Aldo Leopold Reserve.

    [​IMG]
    The Indian Agency House on Rustic Road 69

    My next road was still in Columbia County, but it was 20 miles south, near Lodi. By the time I got there it was after noon, so it was time to find some lunch and fuel. I had passed up a few of my beloved Kwik Trips, so I settled for a Mobil/A & W combination in Lodi. It turned out to be a good stop and the Wi Fi was appreciated.

    I found RR 110 just northwest of Lodi and had three roads in the hopper as I cruised WIS 60 back to Interstate 39/90/94 south. Dane County holds three Rustic Roads and they were next on the list. The first is number 96 just south of Cottage Grove. Nora Road winds through some typical Wisconsin farmland and woods. The next two, Rustic Roads 19 and 20, are to the southeast of the state capital of Madison. RR 20 skirts Lake Kegonsa and includes a historic one lane bridge over the Yahara River.

    [​IMG]
    One lane bridge over the Yahara

    Number 19 leads north off of County B on Lalor Road and ends near Goodland Park on Lake Wabesa. I stopped and enjoyed the peacefulness of the deserted park before mounting up and continuing on.



    [​IMG]
    View of Lake Wabesa from Goodland Park

    Following my serendipitous capture of Rustic Road 35 I called it a day. Once I was checked into the hotel I took a walk around the little town of Whitewater. It is home to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, but does not really seem to have the feel of a "college town". Getting back to my room, I mapped out my ride for the next day.

    A cold front came through overnight and it was noticeably cooler on the bike in the morning. There are three Rustic Roads in Jefferson County and they were first on the list for the day. The first two, 87 and 88, were easy to find and I had ridden them both before 8:30 am. They took me through farmlands, woods, and past well-kept cemeteries. Finding number 84 along the Bark River in Fort Atkinson was a bit more difficult, but it was worth it. Halfway through the ride there is an artesian drinking fountain.

    [​IMG]
    Artesian drinking fountain midway on Rustic Road 84

    I needed to go east to Waukesha County, but a bridge was out on WIS 106. Following the detour, I found myself right back at the Super 8 in Whitewater. The detour led me to WIS 59, and I followed it through Palmyra and into Waukesha County. Turning north on WIS 67, I looked for Piper Road. Turning right on Piper I soon saw the sign for Rustic Road 86. It follows Waterville Road through the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Its north end is at US 18 and I rode 18 west into the little town of Dousman.

    My hope was to find a Kwik Trip, but there was none to be found. I fueled up at the Mobil station and bought a big chocolate muffin and coffee to get me through to lunch. WIS 67 intersects with US 18 in Dousman, and I went north on 67 in search of Rustic Road 10. This area is all part of the Kettle Moraine, so even the roads between the Rustic Roads are a joy to ride. The highway here is particularly scenic and winds over and through some beautiful topography.

    Number 10 passes near the famous Pabst Farms and a couple of small lakes. The area near the road is still a little rustic, but the tentacles of suburbia are not far away. Following Pabst Farm Boulevard led me to Delafield, home of St. John's Northwestern Military Academy. Reaching WIS 83 on the east side of Delafield, I went north into Washington County.

    The highway is also known as Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive, and it lived up to its name. Rustic Road 33 can be found north of the intersection of 83 and County Q. RR 33 is unique in that it is comprised of a myriad of Irish heritage named roads that you cannot ride in a linear fashion.
    [​IMG]
    Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians

    It is primarily an agricultural area, but there are some pretty impressive homes along the road. There is also a good view of the steeples on the Holy Hill National Shrine of Mary, which is located on the highest point in southeast Wisconsin. At the corner of County K and County Q I stopped by St Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Church. It was a pretty flat piece of land in this hilly county and a nice place to take a quiet break.

    [​IMG]
    St. Teresa of Calcutta in Washington County

    The last road I had on the list was in far northeastern Washington County. I had to ride Interstate 41 north to get there and it was time for lunch. The McDonald's in Richfield was calling me, so I stopped there for a Big Mac Meal and the use of the Wi Fi. The day was turning colder as I was now closer to Lake Michigan, but my Olympia AST 2 jacket kept me comfortable on the bike.

    Rustic Road 52 was the only one I rode over the two days that had any gravel. It coursed through some farmland and some farm houses that dated to the 1800's. Right after the Rustic Road ends, on Blue Goose Road, I passed a fenced in area that is designated as the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Field Station. It abuts the Cedarburg Bog and supports research, education, and public outreach. As a proud UWM Panther, I stopped to have a quick look around.

    [​IMG]
    Entrance to UWM Field Station

    Blue Goose Road led me north to WIS 33 and I realized that my first Rustic Roads the day before had intersected 33 just a few miles to the west. It was time to go home, so I rode east to Interstate 43 and eased into the late afternoon traffic. Over the next 80 miles I thought about all I had seen over the two days. Farmlands, woods, big and small rivers, lakes, bogs, cemeteries and churches all combined to make the trip one to cherish.

    If you wish to read about other trips and motorcycle stuff my blog is at:
    https://viewfromamotorcycle.blogspot.com/
    #1
    06Klr650, Sfcootz, RedEX and 2 others like this.
  2. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Farto Motografist

    Joined:
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    Great write up! :clap

    I really enjoy the Rustic Road system and find it refreshing that the State of Wisconsin has this available, it's a cool conquest to be sure. I'm chipping away at them myself, but coming in from the Minnesota side. That route you traveled sounded great. I'm making some notes here, can you tell me what RR's I might have missed that you hit on that trip,

    I have these jotted-down from your post, RR 35, 69, 49, 110, 96, 19, 20, 84, 10, 33, 52,

    Did I miss any? Looks like a fun trip, great excuse for a couple day fall ride. I may need more time coming in from the west. I have them all in my Garmin and on the phone in Locus Map.
    #2
  3. lhoff601

    lhoff601 I like retro -- see bike and film cameras.

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    Lovely! Hoping to do that in '18.
    #3
  4. blackfriar

    blackfriar Been here awhile

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    I'm glad you enjoyed reading about my trip Unstable. The other roads I was on were numbers 87 and 88 in Jefferson County and 86 in Waukesha County. RR 68 is in the neighborhood, but I did not get that one.

    Using the Garmin will help. I don't have any Bluetooth, so I was stopping to check the map app on my phone every now and then. Have a great time!
    #4
    Unstable Rider likes this.
  5. rx35285

    rx35285 Adventurer

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    Terrific write up! Makes me want to go searching for gpx routes and/or maps.
    #5
  6. N-Id-Jim

    N-Id-Jim Long timer

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    where elephants roam
    Nice.. love those rustic limestone block churches too..
    #6
  7. RedEX

    RedEX NeverSatisfied

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    S.E. Michigan
    Enjoyed your report, Blackfriar. We recently passed through Wisconsin on the way to and from Minnesota's North Shore, and taking the SS Badger to get across from Ludington to Manitowoc.

    We stayed in Tomahawk a couple different nights, and even though we were just "passing through", we really enjoyed riding through Wisconsin's North Woods. One road that really stands out was 55, running along the Wolf River through the Menominee reservation. But there are many more good roads, as your ride report demonstrates! I think we'll have to come back again some day, and what you've described is exactly the kind of riding we like to do. Thanks!
    #7
  8. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    I lived in Wisconsin for just shy of 20 years. You can go across that state in about any direction you want just by stringing the Rustic Roads together.
    Nothing better for a long weekend than just booping along watching the world go by at a slowwwwww pace.
    #8
    RocketFuel212 likes this.
  9. tlub

    tlub Long timer

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    Oct 23, 2012
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    Madison, WI
    Nice ride- I need to do this. All these are within about 2 hours ride of me- I live in Madison. You did miss a great place to eat on US12 in the Town of La Grange- a old general store/ sandwich shop that caters to the bicyclists that do the Kettle Moraine bike trails.
    From the tenor of your report, I think you'd like it.
    #9
  10. wheelieTime43

    wheelieTime43 n00b

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    I enjoyed the read, thank you! I myself have ridden along several scenic roads in Wisconsin. It makes me want to go for a ride right now!
    #10
  11. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen

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    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    LOTS of good riding to still be had in Wisconsin. In fact this Friday is going to be sunny with a high of 72F. SO I'll be riding off as many miles from Green Bay that I can manage from 7am (when my fiance leaves the house for work). She knows this time of year is Friday Ride days for me, great way to use up the vacation days. Plus I need to preride my BMW Club final group ride of the season. RIDE ON!
    #11
  12. blackfriar

    blackfriar Been here awhile

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    I appreciate all of the replies. Have a good ride tomorrow, Andy. It looks like it will be a great day to be out.
    #12
  13. Sfcootz

    Sfcootz Proud to be a 0.6106142755%er Super Moderator

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    You're a good writer! Thanks for taking me along. It's like traveling without leaving my house.
    #13